From holiday camp host to TV comic and sitcom star, Lee Mack has come a long way since saying bye-de-bye to holiday makers and hi-de-hi to life as a stand up, back in 1990.
Today, the former Blue Coat is practically a household name, but it took him a while to get established, and, like many comedians, it was here in the Capital that he finally achieved his breakthrough, winning the Gilded Balloon’s So You Think You’re Funny competition at the Fringe in 1995.
His own BBC Radio 2 show followed quickly, before ITV beckoned with The Sketch Show and TV Heaven, Telly Hell. Have I Got News For You and Never Mind The Buzzcocks weren’t far behind and furthered his mainstream appeal, which has since been cemented by six series of Not Going Out, currently the BBC’s longest running sitcom.
Right now though, the 46-year-old is back on the road. You’ll find him at the Playhouse tonight and tomorrow, in the appropriately named Hit The Road Mack.
“Once again I’m very excited about the prospect of being able to eat Ginsters pasties alone and cold, in some empty service station, at three in the morning,” he grins.
Hit The Road Mack is the award-winning comic’s first live tour in more than four years, nevertheless you can expect an evening full of his trademark, high-energy banter, well-crafted gags and sharp one-liners.
There’s just one thing, should you bump into him before or after the show, don’t be tempted to share your own favourite joke with him.
As he recently told one interviewer, “What happens is that people say, ‘I’ve got one for you... and I’m very good at glazing over, smiling and knowing when the joke’s finished, and then I say, ‘Oh, good one’, and I haven’t heard any of it.
“If anyone ever starts a sentence, ‘I’ve got a joke for you’, I can guarantee that 99.9% of the time it won’t be pleasant.
“It’s always unpleasant jokes for some reason.”
You have been warned.
Lee Mack: Hit The Road Mack, Playhouse, Greenside Place, 7.30pm, tonight and tomorrow, £32.40, 0844-871 7627